Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Things to Think About When Buying a New PC

In the last post I described to you the different kinds of operating systems for PCs and Macs.  No matter what your choice of operating system, I commend you on getting this far.  In some ways, those of you who have chosen a Mac have it easy, you have more limited models and options to choose from.

For those who have decided on a PC, there are many choices to be made.  But, before you go to the store, there are other things to think about.  Today, I want to teach you about compatibility.  Most of you have heard about Windows 7, the current version of the Windows Operating System.  Windows 7 is comparatively easier than earlier versions of Windows. Thankfully, all new PC computers purchased currently come with Windows 7 pre-installed on the computer.  This makes your life easy.

However, your new computer will not come with all your current computer’s programs. Most of you will want some (or all) of the same programs you had on your old computer.  To do that, you will have to reinstall all your old programs on the new computer.  Doesn't that sound like fun?  It’s not. To add to the fun, some of the programs you have will not run with Windows 7.  You will need to check with the maker of the software to be sure the version you have is compatible with Windows 7.  That can be a lot of work if you have a lot of software installed. 

To make your life a little easier, I can tell you about compatibility issues with some of the free software you might use with Windows 7. There are versions of iTunes, Adobe Reader, Adobe Shockwave, Adobe Flash, and Java available for Windows 7.  If you use Microsoft Outlook Express, it does not work on Windows 7.  There is a new free program available from Microsoft called Windows Live Mail. The program is similar to Microsoft Outlook Express; you will probably find it easy to transition to the new program.

Now for some quick tips about the stuff that isn’t free.  Many of you use Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, Power Point) to do your work.  If your version of Microsoft Office is 2003, 2007, or 2010, you are in luck, your version will work on Windows 7.  If you are using an older version of Microsoft Office, you will need to budget for an upgrade because they are not compatible.  The Home and Student version of Office 2010 costs between $100 and $150.  This version can be used on up to 3 computers - if used for non-commercial purposes.  If you require Microsoft Outlook (not Outlook Express), the choices are different and more expensive.

How long have you had your printer?  Regardless, you need to check to see if your printer is compatible as well.  Go the website for the manufacturer and check if your printer’s software is available for Windows 7.  If the software is not available, you will probably need a new printer.

Now for the good news.  If all of this sounds too complex for you, I can help you through the maze of issues.  I can help you select a computer, update the new computer (yes it is out of date when you get it), install your programs, install your printer, and even move your data (pictures, music, movies, etc).

For those of you who are buying a PC, the next blog post will have details about the tech specs I recommend.

Contact Robert by E-mail or by phone 858-449-1749.

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